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How to use the Linux ‘scp’ command without a password to make remote backups

Summary: How to create a public and private key pair to use ssh and scp without using a password, which lets you automate a remote server backup process.

Over the last two years I've ended up creating a large collection of websites and web applications on a variety of Linux servers that are hosted with different companies like GoDaddy and A2 Hosting. I recently embarked on a mission to automate the backup processes for all these sites, and as a result of this effort, I thought I'd share what I've learned here.

Privacy policy updates

Wow, in the last 48 hours Twitter, GoDaddy, Etsy, and other websites/businesses have sent me emails saying that their privacy policies have changed. The stuff Facebook has gone through (or created, depending on your perspective) seem to be having a rapid ripple effect on the industry.

Apache 301 redirects on GoDaddy web hosting

I have a shared web hosting account on GoDaddy, and wanted to do a 301 redirect with an Apache .htaccess file. For some unknown reason GoDaddy’s web interface wasn’t working for this, so I thought I’d fix the problem manually.

In short, this did NOT work:

Redirect 301 /the-old-uri  http://alvinalexander.com/the-new-uri

Manual PHP and Drupal 6 web access logging

There was a little funky activity on a client's Drupal 6 website that was hosted at GoDaddy, and without having access to an Apache access log file, I wanted to be able to see what was going on. So I wrote the following PHP code snippet to do some manual logging, and placed it in the Drupal theme's page.tpl.php file:

A shell script to download a URL (and test website speed)

I've been having a problem with a GoDaddy website lately (see my GoDaddy 4GH performance problems page, and in an effort to get a better handle on both (a) GoDaddy website downtime and (b) GoDaddy 4GH performance, I wrote a Unix shell script to download a sample web page from my website.

To that end, I created the following shell script, and then ran it from my Mac every two minutes:

My GoDaddy 4GH hosting review

Here's my GoDaddy 4GH hosting review: It sucks. A friend on Twitter warned me about it, but sadly, I didn't listen.

As a backup to that "review", here's the downtime on just one of my websites for the last several days:

A2 Hosting review 2010 - Day 4

A2 Hosting Review 2010, Day 4: After four years of using GoDaddy web hosting services, four days ago (December, 2010) I started an experiment to use the A2 Hosting web hosting services. A2's specs -- including the ability to access my web server and also use an A2 Hosting server as a private Git server -- looked impressive, so I set up a new domain and website with them.

A GoDaddy web hosting review

A GoDaddy web hosting review: I've been a GoDaddy web hosting customer for more than three years now, but as I've been looking around for a private Git hosting service, my eyes were opened to another web hosting company named A2 Hosting. Based on my initial research, I just wrote an A2 Hosting v GoDaddy web hosting comparison/review.

While A2 Hosting looks like they might be more of a "developer friendly" web hosting service, I thought I'd take a few moments to offer my own review of the GoDaddy web hosting service, without taking A2 into consideration.